Move to breathe new life into Burnley textiles collection

By We Love Creative

20 Nov 2023

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Burnley’s Gawthorpe Textiles Collection is on the move to ensure the legacy left by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth lives on for future generations.

A collection of over 30,000 textile and craft items that has been housed at Gawthorpe Hall for more than half a century has been carefully relocated to Northlight in Brierfield.

The charity will retain its public gallery space within the hall, which is undergoing a redisplay as part of the investment in the collection’s future, so visitors can continue to enjoy the internationally renowned collection of global textiles in Padiham.

The collection’s new home is a redeveloped cotton mill which has stunning historical features of its own as well as a textile heritage. 

Northlight offers the space and flexibility to store and continue to grow the collection, as well as providing a modern, fit-for-purpose workshop space to increase public access to this important educational collection.  

Linda Drury, director of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, said: “When I joined the charity last year the trustees were already considering moving the collection from the hall as moisture and damp building up in the storage area was starting to impact on some items within it.

“Northlight offers us a more practical space and we are looking forward to welcoming people through our doors once the unboxing process has been done!

“Moving a collection of such enormity and value has taken a lot of logistical planning and we are very grateful to all of our wonderful staff and volunteers who have played their part in making it happen.”

Lord Shuttleworth, chairman of trustees and Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth’s great nephew, explained: 

“Rachel wanted to use creativity and craft for the good of the community as she believed it was the key to unlock health, social and economic prospects for those most in need.

“Her dedication led her to open her home in Gawthorpe Hall to the public and she campaigned tirelessly to raise the funds needed to secure its future during her lifetime.

“While Rachel’s work is synonymous to Gawthorpe Hall, it felt like the right time to move the collection to ensure its longevity for generations to come. 

"Our vision as a charity remains to develop a centre of excellence for textile learning based around the collection and this move is a significant step in achieving that.

“We cannot thank the team enough for working tirelessly to make this happen and we look forward to a bright future at Northlight.”

Recent funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Key Fund’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund have helped support the move.

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